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Articles by Josue Ortiz

Washington D.C.

As the clock ticks onward and my time as a Blue Demon undergrad comes to a close, I realize I am experiencing some of the last moments with many of the organizations and clubs I have been a part of throughout my time here at DePaul.

Washington D.C.
Yes, I will stay in touch with my friends, peers, mentors, etc. but life moves on. Some of us will be attending master’s programs at other universities and others will be pursuing careers in Chicago or elsewhere.

This past spring break was my last service immersion trip with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (O.M.S.S.).  This year we went to Washington D.C. and worked with a Wider Circle. I was one of two seniors on the trip. Along with our service, we also became immersed in the communities that we were in. Visiting various museums, attractions, speaking events, and more, often times comparing and contrasting these experiences with Chicago and the broader global context.

As a senior, it was nice to see the underclassmen enjoy themselves as I did during my first service immersion trip. It was a bittersweet week as every moment was impactful and all my peers were awesome. Yet, I know this may be one of the final times I enjoy an experience such as this. With that being said, as I frequently do, I made a video of my time in Washington D.C. Check it out and enjoy! D.C. is a beautiful city.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

VSD 2016

Vincentian Service Day (VSD) is DePaul’s annual day of service where hundreds of students go out in the community to carry out the Vincentian mission. 

Each year athletes, scholars, staff, faculty, and more meet in the McGrath arena on a Saturday morning to get hyped for the day. This year the focus of our service was centered on homelessness. Several students shared their experience followed by an address from President Father Dennis Holtschneider

It is an event that is inspiring, fun, and reflects what DePaul is all about. I participated with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS) and led our group along with my friend and fellow scholar Katie. We went to the Hermitage Community Garden​ in Englewood and helped pull weeds, lay mulch, and prep soil for planting. 

After our service was done, our group reflected on what we had done and how our time was spent. VSD concluded with a cookout that is usually in the Quad but because of weather was in the Student Center. There was hot dogs, music, games, and throwback pictures previous VSD events. It was time well spent!

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!


Kill 'Em With Kindness

​​“Kill ‘em with kindness.” Something I hear quite often. I’m not sure how to feel about it. 

On one hand you have a positive and kind act being the response of a negative one, but on the other hand is it a genuine kindness or is it just a different method of revenge? 

This is what I like to call, an “either or” type of situation. This means that there really isn’t a right answer it simply depends on what you believe. I like to think that the killing with kindness method, regardless of intent, is a good one. If you try to fight fire with fire, well, you’re going to get a bigger fire. However, if you fight fire with water, that changes the game. 

There was an interesting activity I took part in on a retreat once in high school. On the floor laid several candles all of which were lit. The speaker began talking about the significance of everyone and their purpose in life. As she progressed in her speech, she began blowing a few candles out. She continued this until there was just one candle left. At this moment, the speaker told us that we are all lights in this world. The last candle was blown and we sat in darkness. With our hearts beating, our minds thinking, and our senses feeling (my words not hers) we make this world the place it is. The speaker continued her speech and began lighting the candles one by one until the whole room was once again bright. 

One light may not seem like a lot, especially when it is surrounded by darkness but together, we shine bright and make the world warmer. This, I believe, is the key. As St. Vincent himself believed oh so many years ago, we must learn to coexist, accept, and love one another because together we are bright and warm and the darkness stands no chance.

 Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome.



Vincentian Service Day 2015

“Vincentian Service Day 2015 coming up!” Stated one of the emails in my never-ending inbox on Gmail. The message contained information on the day the event would occur and what was needed in order to register. 

As usual, I plan on attending Vincentian Service Day​ with one of the various groups I am committed to here at DePaul. It’s really nice to be a part of so many organizations because when events such as these come up I can either participate in it with my scholarship group, my CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry​)  group, or my DAB (DePaul Activities Board​) group, etc. Nonetheless I am super excited to contribute once again to the amazing service the DePaul University offers. 

I remember when I was senior in high school thinking about all the different things I had learned and accomplished. One of those things I was proud about was joining a club called Mission Awareness, a club dedicated to doing service activities in school and throughout the Chicago area. One of the thoughts I had as I applied to different colleges and universities was, “Am I going to continue this service?” DePaul was perfect for me because it took so many different things
that I learned in high school, such as service, and not only continued them but expanded on them. This will be my second year participating in Vincentian Service Day and I still remember my experience from last year as if it was yesterday. We helped with a community garden on the Southside of Chicago. The lady that overlooked the garden did it all on her own because city budget cuts allowed enough funding for one worker. Any sort of assistance she was able to get was all from volunteers. When the day ended, she was so grateful for our help that she gave us candy! 

I am looking forward to Vincentian Service Day 2015 and I am looking forward to helping someone who may need it.  


Spring Break 2k15 NOLA

This year spring break brought many new memories, friends, and experiences my way as I traveled once again with the Office of Multicultural Student Success (OMSS) to New Orleans, Louisiana for my spring
break service immersion trip. The weather was beautiful, the food was spicy and delicious, and the people were amazing. We teamed up with the St. Ber
nard Project, SBP for short, to help repair houses that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. 

Many people reacted in similar ways when I told them that I would be heading to NOLA for service. They asked questions like “They still need help?” or “That was ten years ago what else needs to be done?” While staying in the lower 9thward, I saw many houses that had little to no progress since the tragic storm, houses that have been ignored and forgotten about. During drives to our service site I saw open land that I did not think much about. It wasn’t until Rachel, the director of SBP, told us that houses used to occupy the land and instead of being rebuilt they were bulldozed. 

The experience was one that will always be with me and make me think about life, people, stories, etc. I will never forget just how different every neighborhood felt, as if they were different states. When thinking of Chicago, I know that every neighborhood has its own feel but I can still identify the areas as Chicago. Yet in
NOLA, the lower 9th ward was a neighborhood of progress, one that is rebuilding slowly but surely, the French Quarter provided an atmosphere unlike anything I have experienced in America, and downtown gave a similar feel to our loop with shops, people, and angry drivers. 

NOLA has a special place in my heart now and the St. Bernard Project is something I stress for people to look into in order to provide some help and support for the New Orleans community.

If you are interested in helping out check out this link.

Thank you for reading my blog and as always, stay awesome!

Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others

Fresh off WLC (Winter Leadership Conference), I told my CCM (Catholic Campus Ministry) small men’s group that I was enlightened. We meet on Monday’s and this past Monday, as many of you probably already know, was the remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Some schools had days off, others used this day to remember and share the ways of Doctor Martin Luther King, and for me I had my small group. It was interesting, as usual, but the discussion became centered around leadership which corresponds to the weekend retreat I attended. We talked about Jesus and his teachings and drifted into discussion about Doctor King. 

One thing I noted about the discussion was the peaceful approach to very difficult and conflicting topics. Things such as prostitution or racism usually get people very heated in debate, and in unfortunate circumstances violence. This past weekend at WLC, we discussed the 5 dimensions of an SRL (Socially Responsible Leader). Which are as follows: 

  1. Self-Understanding and Personal Integrity
  2. Taking Seriously the Perspectives of Others
  3. Contributing to a Larger Community
  4. Knowledge and intellectual Competence
  5. Striving for Excellence

I want to focus on number two, “Taking Seriously the Perspective of Others.” The way I interpret this dimension is that everyone has his or her own way of thinking. We all have values, morals, and opinions that do not always, in fact quite frequently, agree. 

So this specific dimension, I feel, is easier said than done for two reasons:

 One, anything you have ever been taught in life has to be put on hold and you need to listen to the person speaking. You need to think about their position and their life to understand where they are coming from. 

Two, you have to go against your natural instinct of sticking to what you know. We have to become uncomfortable and delve into the life of another individual in order to truly understand them and take their perspective seriously. I believe that the great teachings of Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. are exactly what we should use as models for our life. They push humanity to be more. Everyone has his or her opinion, and everyone will fight for what they believe is right. It is a higher understanding that allows us to relate to one another. To say, “we are different and that is not something that should separate us, but rather something that should bring us together in order to learn more and become more as people.”

That is all for today, thank you for reading my blog, if anyone has heard of WLC and is on the fence about attending I highly recommend that you do. For more information visit the SLI (Student Leadership Institute).

Stay awesome!


Catholic Campus Ministry

​Hello everyone and welcome again to my blog. 

Today I will be sharing my experiences at CCM, Catholic Campus Ministry. CCM is full of awesome people, food, and events. I heard about CCM my first year at DePaul but I never joined anything until this year. 

I went to the kick off mass earlier this year and was greeted by a bunch of members. Everyone had a smile on their face and was super friendly, I have never felt more welcomed. Father Memo Campuzano was energetic and awesome during mass. After the kick off mass, I was called by Piotr another member of CCM who invited me to join a small group on Wednesdays. The group has grown from a few guys to around ten now. 

 
I would highly recommend anyone looking to join a club or organization to check out CCM. The “headquarters”, as I like to call it, is in the student center just across from the chapel. If for some reason you can't find it, just follow the smell of food that is not coming from the second floor. CCM has been awesome to me so far and I look forward to meeting more people and continuing my adventures with them as the year progresses. 

That's all for today, as always stay classy and stay awesome.